This week I wanted to share with you a blog I wrote last summer, however one that gets visited time and time again especially this time of year.
With Summer Holidays in full swing it can be hard to think of ideas to keep riding fun and focused (and safe) when they are riding more than normal.
Ponies suddenly get so much more love and attention, I think ours are ready to pack their bags and escape, haha.
With this in mind I have pulled together our top 7 mounted games to play while horse riding, as schooling can get boring, hacking is not always possible and as much as my daughter has decided cantering and jumping are great fun there is only so much her pony can do and with how dry it is this year her favourite activity of cantering through stubble fields is not an option. We need to care for their joints and jumping daily or work on hard ground is not great for their joints.
So here goes, they are all easy to set up and most importantly fun.
1 – Bending – Super simple but races round bending poles or cones in different gaits. I often use a timer or spots on the floor which need to be hit and there is a prize at the end (an ice lolly usually works well).
2 – Simon Says – Just like the unmounted versions but I use a mix of horsey tasks for example touch your ponies bum, touch your toes, ride one handed, stop, ride to the fence, trot to the cone, round the world, trot, touch ponies ears, touch your head, etc.
3 – Sponge and Buckets – Set up two buckets either on small tables or hung on fences, fill one with water. Give your child a sponge and get them to use the sponge to move the water from one bucket to another. They can do this against the clock or against a friend or just to see how much water they can move.
4 – Red and Green – Great game for if they have another friend who is also riding with them. Green means go, Red means stop. When you shout Red the last one to stop is out.
5 – Fetch – Set up some items attached to a fence, on cones etc and when you shout an item the child has to ride to it, pick it up and then ride to an empty bucket or basket and place it in there. This can be timed or against someone else.
6 – Egg and Spoon – Just like a traditional egg and spoon race but on horse back, however you can adapt this and use a shallow basket or bowl with a ball for younger children or a cup of water for older ones, you can even ask them to trot, making it harder to not spill the water.
7 – £5 Challenge – I loved this as a child. Place £5 under your bum/thigh/knee and try keep it there while you walk/trot or canter. Keep it there and you get to keep it. This is also a lot of fun (and a lot harder) bareback.
I hope you have the most amazing summer of riding fun, make sure you tag us in some of your pictures @redbearequestrian we may even pick our favourite and send them and their pony a special treat.
Horse rider confidence and equestrian confidence needs to be spoken about more, I am excited to bring you, You Got This Equestrian where we discuss real topics and give real tips that work for real riders.
Join me every week for more inspirational stories, hints and tips to support your equestrian confidence journey.
Confident rider, confident horse.
A note about safety
Safety is so important when it comes to riding activities. You know your child’s ability best so adapt the activity to them and ensure they don’t get too excited and start pulling on the ponies mouth or kicking a bit to hard. It is easy to get excited and competitive but these games should be fun for the ponies too. Also ensure that all safety equipment is worn and is checked prior to being worn, hats, body protectors, gloves and boots are all essential kit for our safety and should be checked for signs of wear, damage and also for a good fit.